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Helping the Gambler

Talk to the person about the gambling.
Don’t offer to give or loan money.
Encourage the person to seek help.

Talk to the person about the gambling.

  • Ask the person about his or her gambling. If you think there might be a problem, the direct approach is best.
  • Consider how you might be willing to support or assist if the person is having a problem. Tell them you care about them.
  • If you think there is a problem with gambling, tell them what you have observed. Then ask for their feedback on your observations.
  • Try to avoid arguments, and don’t blame the person. These approaches may cause defensive behaviour in the gambler.
  • Use a positive approach so the person feels your concern and understands that there are some ways that you would consider helping.

Don’t offer to give or loan money.

It’s tough for family members and friends to watch a problem gambler run into financial problems. But the question is, should money be loaned or given in these circumstances?

  • The experts say “no.” This may sound uncaring, but it’s really the only thing you can do to ensure that the gambler experiences the consequences of his or her gambling. If problem gamblers are bailed out, they don’t have to face the financial problems and can continue to gamble, adding to future problems.
  • However, you can still make it clear that you will stand by the gambler and be there to support him or her.

Encourage the person to seek help.

  • Problem gamblers often need encouragement to obtain professional help or support, and they may not be able to control the problem without this help.
  • You can talk to the person about this and provide contact information for counselling and support services in your area.

Keep in mind that, even with the best intentions, you cannot make gamblers stop gambling if they do not feel there is a problem. In a problem gambling situation, regardless of whether or not the gambler decides to stop gambling and seek help, it is important for you to take steps to lessen the impact of problem gambling on yourself and your family.

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